Emotional Healing

By Sydney Wiederhold|Updated July 7, 2022

Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention topics that include abuse, sexual assault, and other potentially sensitive trauma-related subjects.

Complex, potentially difficult feelings like anxiety and sadness are normal parts of the human experience. Knowing this, however, may not make it any less difficult to cope with these feelings. Learning to heal from traumatic events or unhealthy attitudes can take people on many different paths. As you walk down the road of healing, it can help to learn how to address both your emotional pain and physical trauma.

When it comes to emotional healing and physical healing, these two journeys are often interconnected together. Emotional trauma can lead to physical illness if left untreated, and physical trauma can cause emotional pain. The journey toward emotional healing can be a long and uncertain one, but it is possible to navigate with a little help and advice from a mental health professional.

Causes Of Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma can be caused by several different events. Stressful and traumatic events, such as divorce or abuse, can severely impact your emotions and emotional health. All forms of emotional trauma can be treated with emotional healing. Even a one-time event, like a car accident or sports injury, can cause severe trauma and confusing emotions. Other possible causes of trauma and difficult emotions include:

  • Going through a severe illness such as cancer or undergoing surgery

  • Experiencing the death of a loved one

  • Becoming injured from an attack

  • Living in a high- crime area

  • Living through a natural disaster

  • Witnessing an accident

  • Surviving an abusive relationship

Going through trauma can leave you feeling emotions like fear and overwhelm. Even if this traumatic event occurred a while ago, it could still negatively affect your emotions until you begin healing. Emotional healing is the resolution to emotional trauma.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in any form, reach out right away to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for 24/7 support, advice, and assistance.

Symptoms Of Emotional Trauma

People who struggle with emotional trauma often feel as though they lack direction or support for emotional healing. Negative emotions and unpleasant memories can bring about serious mental health concerns. Sometimes, people are in denial of their emotions and trauma. Other times, they are confused and need help processing the emotions and trauma and moving towards healing. Everyone has a different response to trauma and its emotions, and no two routes to emotional healing will be the same.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms after dealing with a potentially traumatic emotional event, you might need to take steps toward emotional healing:

Emotional Trauma Signs

  • Nightmares
  • Having intrusive thoughts or memories of the event, often out of the blue
  • Emotions of shock or denial
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Inability to maintain close and healthy relationships
  • Depression and hopeless emotions
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Irritability
  • Acting hostile toward others
  • Guilt or shame
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling disconnected or numb to the world
  • Confusion
  • Anger issues
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Obsessions and/or compulsions

Everyone experiences emotional pain differently, so emotional healing won’t look the same for any two people. You might have multiple symptoms of trauma, or just a couple. If you’re unsure whether your symptoms are the result of emotional pain or something else, talk to a doctor or mental health professional about your emotions. You can get the help you need on your journey to emotional healing.

Emotional Pain In Children And Teenagers

Physical and emotional trauma can occur early on in childhood. Adolescents who live in an emotionally or physically abusive home environment, witness domestic or emotional abuse between their parents, undergo surgery, or go through a serious illness can develop trauma. Anything that disrupts a child’s emotions of safety and security can cause trauma, though children are able to practice emotional healing.

When you live through a traumatic event as a child, and are not given time to process those emotions or begin healing, you may see the effects well into adulthood. Seeking treatment or emotional healing for it as soon as possible can be crucial in helping you cope with the complicated feelings it has caused and allowing you to reconnect with others. As you grow up, emotional healing can help you ensure you maintain a healthy mindset.

Treatment Options For Recovering From Emotional Pain And Emotional Trauma

People who experience symptoms of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional anxiety, or depression as a result of trauma can typically undergo emotional healing through psychotherapy and group counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy is commonly used in emotional healing to treat cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients who are living with these emotions and mental health concerns can learn how to challenge negative thought patterns and better cope with their symptoms.

Support Your Emotional Healing

Here are some ways you can support yourself and your emotions if you’re working to heal and address your trauma:

  • Following a proper diet and fitness routine
  • Joining support groups
  • Making sleep a priority
  • Learning more about what you’re experiencing
  • Seeing a mental health professional
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Meditating or practicing mindfulness
  • Journaling
  • Staying in touch with friends and other loved ones
  • Using deep breathing techniques
  • Doing yoga 

Everyone copes with stress and trauma in different ways because we are all unique individuals. You’ll usually need to try out a few methods of emotional healing to find what works best for you. Medication may also help you cope with your emotional healing, depending on the situation and condition. Always consult a medical professional before deciding to take any new medication. They can advise you on the best one for your situation and can help you remain aware of any potential side effects. 

Signs You Might Have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you find that your symptoms are not improving or are worsening over time, you might have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and could be supported by emotional healing. PTSD is a serious mental health condition that arises from experiencing trauma. Most people associate PTSD with combat veterans. While veterans are particularly at risk of having PTSD, people outside the military can also develop it. Living through or witnessing a particularly stressful or dangerous event where you felt helpless can bring about symptoms of PTSD. PTSD can be managed and treated with emotional healing and talk therapy.

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Nightmares about the event
  • Experiencing severe emotional stress from triggers of the event
  • Flashbacks of the event that make you feel as though you are reliving it
  • Having trouble remembering certain parts of the event
  • Attempting to avoid talking about or thinking about the traumatic event
  • Becoming detached from loved ones
  • Being easily startled, or feeling like you are constantly surveying your surroundings for signs of danger

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider speaking with a doctor as soon as possible. They can refer you to a mental health professional who will formulate a treatment plan for you. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can get your life back on track. You don't deserve to feel this way, and you can take steps to emotional healing.

Physical Trauma And Going Through Physical And Emotional Healing

Physical trauma can coincide with emotional trauma when recovering from an accident, combat, or abuse. Anyone, regardless of age or gender, can experience physical trauma, and anyone can embark on emotional healing. People who have been in serious accidents or experienced assault can deal with negative physical ramifications on their mental and emotional development until they begin emotional healing. If head trauma is also experienced, this can impact their emotional development as they grow older.

Survivors of abuse can develop severe physical injuries that require physical therapy and other forms of emotional healing treatment. In addition, they may require psychotherapy and other emotional support services to help them cope with complicated feelings related to trauma and begin emotional healing. This trauma can sometimes have extensive effects on an individual.

The Connection Between Physical And Emotional Pain

Emotional pain can hurt just as badly as physical pain, though in a different way. In many regards, the two are interconnected. When someone has deep emotional pain, they may experience physical symptoms as a result. In fact, there are studies that show that both types of pain may share some neurological resemblance. When someone is experiencing emotional pain, they may also have physical symptoms such as:

•    Diarrhea
•    Headaches
•    Stomach problems
•    Sweating
•    Numbness
•    Restlessness
•    Insomnia
•    Feeling weak
•    Dizziness 

There is a clear link between emotional and physical symptoms. And a clear link between physical and emotional healing. So, rather than looking at physical and emotional pain as separate entities, many doctors and mental health professionals have begun looking at them together. One affects the other, and vice versa. Of course, some things are purely emotional or purely physical; however, it’s clear that the two can exist on more of a spectrum or continuum, rather than being entirely separate. Emotional healing can sometimes help alleviate physical pains, too.

Recovering From Emotional Trauma

Whether you’re just starting to process trauma now or have been working towards emotional healing it for a while, BetterHelp is here to assist you. If you continue to be negatively impacted by a situation in your life, it might be time to involve a mental health provider in the process of emotional healing. At BetterHelp, you’ll be matched with a caring, qualified therapist who can give you the tools to work through trauma. BetterHelp makes it easy and convenient to access care from the comfort of your home. All you will need is a phone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection to get started. Take that first step today and see what positive changes are possible in your life. 

Emotional Healing FAQs

The process to heal the emotional and physical self can be long and arduous. If you have questions about either of these processes, the below answers may help.

How do you measure emotional intelligence?

When measuring one’s emotional intelligence, you need to consider its five key elements: self-awareness, social skills, empathy, motivation, and self-regulation. Many workplaces use tests like the Salovey, Caruso, and Mayer exams to test their employees’ intelligence.

What does it mean if someone has a low level of mental intelligence?

On average, people score a 75 out of 100 on the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Appraisal® test. People who score lower than this typically have trouble controlling their emotions and getting along with others. People with low emotional intelligence are often argumentative and may blame others and refuse to listen to them. Because they may not be attuned to other people’s emotions, they can often act insensitively. However, it is possible to improve your mental intelligence. By practicing empathy and learning how to manage negative emotions, you can start to improve your emotional relationships with other people.

Can physical therapy assist with healing emotions?

People who suffer from physical injuries often suffer in emotions as well. This could be caused by brain damage or as a result of having to cope with a severe injury. If you have experienced a traumatic injury, physical therapy can help you and your emotions heal from this event.

What happens if the trauma is left untreated?

Unresolved trauma can affect you later on in life and can even make you vulnerable to experiencing further trauma. Symptoms related to anxiety, substance use disorders, anger, and depression may appear or worsen. As a result, you might begin to develop physical symptoms as well, such as gastrointestinal problems or fatigue.

Can trauma ever go away?

With treatment, you can learn how to work through trauma and heal. However, trauma is different for everyone, so the process will likely depend on your symptoms, treatment, and a variety of other considerations. You may be faced with situations that trigger different symptoms. Keeping up with your treatment plan is an important part of coping with these situations whenever they arise.

How long does it take to recover from a traumatic incident?

It can take weeks, months, or even longer to address what happened to you and learn to cope with it. That’s why it is often crucial to obtain help from a mental health professional. They can help you learn how to effectively address complex feelings associated with the trauma and manage your symptoms while healing.

What are the three types of trauma?

The three main types of trauma are acute, chronic, and complex trauma. Acute trauma occurs when a singular event occurs, such as a car accident or theft, and compromises someone’s safety. Chronic trauma involves repeated events over some time. Domestic violence and exposure to combat can cause chronic trauma. Complex trauma typically occurs through multiple events. For example, domestic violence and civil unrest can cause complex trauma.

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